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HomeMember of the Month

SFRRC Member of the Month

As a way to highlight members of our community, each month the San Francisco Road Runners recognizes someone who brings a particular positive contribution to the club. It might be from a comeback story, or their joyful/helpful presence at club runs, or inspire others with their beautiful spirit, or they trained with us and ran an awesome race.

Our Member of the Month spotlight began in 2018. Please give the recipient a smile and a hello when you see them! 

GEORGE IWAOKA | SEPTEMBER 2019 - Member Spotlight

The San Francisco Road Runners Club and the running community of this great city is better because of George. He simply makes both more joyful... when George was not able to run a hill/track practice because of injury, he offered his photography talents (of course, we accepted) and came with his digital SLR camera to shoot photos of the club/members; a few months earlier he skipped running our Summer Club Kickoff run to do the same. George's presence at club runs and activities, genuine interest in helping others (including welcoming newcomers and others as a Club Ambassador this year), his affability, intuitive relationship development, and encouraging nature, along with his ability to tackle big task with great ease are only a few reasons why George is such a valued leader in our club. Thank you, good man!


Questions we asked George:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I first started running back freshman year of high school for the school's track and field team. I still remember running my 2 miles and feeling the "runners high" after my first practice (I was not in nearly the shape I am today) and decided to stick with it until senior year. After college, I pretty much stopped running except for occasional runs here and there to stay in shape. But then I moved to the Bay Area in the summer of 2017. Running a marathon had always been a bucket list item of mine, and having moved to a new city, I thought it was a good opportunity to try something new. I slowly started ramping up my mileage and finished my first marathon that next summer in 2018 in San Francisco. I've been hooked ever since and hope to keep running for as long as I can.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I was out training for my first marathon one day and me and some friends were doing a track workout at Kezar track. I ran into Kelli, who I had met through some community running events, who introduced me to John who happened to be there for our Tuesday Track workout. John introduced himself and the club and his energy was really what pushed me to start coming to club events. He invited us to the Summer kick off run which happened to be that Saturday and since then, I've been a regular member trying to attend as many events as possible. It's been a little over a year since I joined but I love this club and hope to be a part of it for as long as I can keep running.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I think my biggest goal right now is qualifying for Boston, which happens to be a sub 3:00 hour marathon for my age group. It's a big goal, it won't come easy and I understand that. But because it's such a challenging goal, I think it makes training a lot more exciting. I see running as a sport where your success it directly proportional to the amount of effort you put in. You could argue some people are born better runners than others, but at the end of the day, I think it all comes down to how long you're hitting the road out there. I've yet to reach my goal for a BQ time, but I hope to get there soon. I have a lot of other club members I've gotten closer through training who are going for the same goal, which is a huge motivator in itself.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
How welcoming and supportive the club community is. I remember the first time I ran into SFRRC at track, EVERYONE was cheering each other on, no matter how slow or how fast you are. And I really think the people who take the time to join a club like ours truly want to grow the running community. Last month, my brother visited from Japan and came with me to Santa Rosa to watch me run a half, and the first thing he mentioned on our ride back was how welcoming the running community was. He actually ended up buying a pair of running shoes the day after we got back and started running #proudbrother

Favorite Race: Rock N Roll series - they do a really great job of hyping up runners on the course 
Favorite Training Runs: Ocean beach - I love running down the great highway 

Which pace group are you in: 8:00 / 8:30 depending on how I feel 
How many miles do you run per week: less than what I'd like to admit to John
Shoes: Nike Flyknits for my training runs, and Nike Vaporfly 4% for my race shoes
Food (when training for a marathon): I don't really follow a strict diet, but I eat A LOT when I'm around my peak mileage. I do try to shy away from sugar and alcohol during my peak weeks but really anything I crave is fair game

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I do a fair bit of photography on my spare time - it's been a huge hobby of mine that conveniently pays for itself picking up gigs. I also love traveling so I do a fair bit of that on weekends occasionally

What keeps you motivated?
As cliche as it sounds, seeing other members of the club succeed. Everyone sort of keeps each other accountable in a way training together each week and working towards the same goals and races. Also I think Strava is a huge motivator for those days when you're feeling lazy or busy. You open the app and see your friends running and working hard? I guess it means I can't be slacking off either 

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Listen to your body! I think I can give this advise to myself almost but I've definitely had times where I pushed myself when I didn't have to and paid the price later down the road. Also, have fun with your training! I think it's important to enjoy what you are doing to not burn out. There's gonna be days where you're gonna be good days and bad days during your training, but if you truly enjoy running, it'll make getting through your bad days so much easier.


LOUISE STEPHENS | AUGUST 2019 - Member Spotlight

Our unrelenting and amazing club member... Thank you for everything you do for us, Louise. For your presence, for your encouragement with others getting into the sport, for your racing (and pacing others for) such cool "long" races and in the process inspiring us all to reach for a little more, and for the support of your husband Bill and daughter Jane, we are SO grateful to/for you.


Questions we asked Louise:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
We did not have track or XC in grammar school. In 8th grade there was a “fun run” put on by the father’s club. I came in 2nd place and someone told me that I should run in high school. My coach in High School was Mary Etta Boitano’s dad. She was a senior at the time. I didn’t know until years later, that she was famous in the running world. Her dad was instrumental in starting DSE and Pamakids. Two groups that I’m involved with today.

I run because it’s fun! I love talking with friends and getting a good work-out at the same time.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
Akemi invited me to come to a Saturday run and I’ve been showing up ever since! I believe I’ve been a member for 5 yrs

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My goal is to keep racing as long as I can. I usually race once a month. And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far? The key for me is to sign up for all my races in the beginning of the year.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
I like how there’s so many pace groups. Some days I’m tired and it’s nice to have the option of running with a different pace groups. I also really like Bill's Sunday trail runs!

Favorite Race: Way Too Cool 50k 
Favorite Training Runs: any Presidio run and any trail run 

Which pace group are you in: 8:30
How many miles do you run per week: 30-40
Shoes: Brooks
Food (when training for a marathon): anything my husband cooks for me

What do you like to do when not running with the club
Work, gardening, movies

What keeps you motivated?
Club breakfast runs, Wed beer run with friends, occasional DSE runs on Sundays, racing for the PAMAKIDS 

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Listen to your body. If you’re too tired you may have to skip a work-out and take a rest day. I use the Hansons’ training type of philosophy and do back-to back runs on the week-ends.

JOYCE YOUNG | JULY 2019 - Member Spotlight

Our awesome and superbly helpful SFRRC Club Ambassador. Thank you for everything you do for us, Joyce. You make everybody's life and time with us a little brighter.


Questions we asked Joyce:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
In high school, I was looking to participate in a sport so that I would be a more well-rounded college applicant. Cross country seemed to be the perfect fit because running required the least amount of coordination (for me), I did not have to be a skilled or experienced runner, and all of my friends ran cross country so why not? Thus, began my dabble in running during junior and senior years of high school.

After high school, I took a long hiatus from running (except for the occasional SF Bay to Breakers) until 2014 when I decided to run again. A friend of mine ran half marathons and I remember seeing her race posts on Facebook. That inspired me to get back into running and to set a goal to run a half marathon (yes, just one). Five years, 15 half marathons and 1 marathon later, I'm still running. Now I primarily run for the enjoyment of it but perhaps there is a little bit of self-challenge to see what more I am capable of.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I first learned about SFRRC on Facebook in January 2017 where I saw an ad about the club kick off at Sports Basement. I ran with the 10 minute pace group at the kick off, signed up the same day and have been a member since. SFRRC is such a great run club and I wish I had known about it sooner!

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My current goals are to run a sub 1:40 half marathon and a 3:30 marathon. My upcoming scheduled races include Santa Rosa half marathon in August, Berlin marathon in September, North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon in November, Hot Chocolate 5K next January, and Boston marathon next April. I am hoping to incorporate strength training into my routine to help me achieve these new goals.

When I look back, there were two significant breakthroughs in my running, and both were associated with consistency in training and increased weekly mileage. In 2016, I ran a 1:55 half marathon (7 minute PR) and earlier this year, I ran a 1:40 half marathon (10 minute PR). For the 2016 race, I increased my running from 3 days and 10-15 miles a week to ~4 days and 15-20 miles per week. For the 2019 race, I increased my running to 5-6 days and 40-50 miles per week. The key training runs for me have been Tuesday speed work at Kezar track and Saturday long (slow) runs.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
Pace groups, variety of events and most of all, the people! One of the main reasons I joined SFRRC was for the pace group on Saturday long runs. Having a group of people to run (or commiserate) with is so much more enjoyable than running solo, especially when training calls for 18+ miles. I thoroughly enjoy all of the running and non-running events that SFRRC offers from the various weekly group runs to brewery runs, movie nights, club nights and the annual holiday party. I have particularly enjoyed club nights where I can learn about race, nutrition and hydration strategy from experts; be inspired by celebrity elite runners; or just have an opportunity to meet and mingle with other club members. The holiday party is another favorite event. It is so fun to see everyone in non-running gear and to see what the club has accomplished throughout the year. Last but not least, the people in the club are awesome! It is so inspiring to be surrounded by so many dedicated and talented runners, to be able to motivate and encourage each other, and to train and race together.

Favorite Race: Monterey Bay Half Marathon, it is a beautiful out and back course along the Pacific coast in Monterey and Pacific Grove
Favorite Training Runs: Lands End, Presidio, Marina
Which pace group are you in: 10 minute/mile pace group 
How many miles do you run per week: 40-50 miles
Shoes: Hoka Tracer 2
Food (when training for a marathon): I don't follow any particular race training diet and tend to eat what I want to eat and when I feel hungry; I try to eat healthy as much as possible but my sweet tooth sometimes gets in the way.

What do you like to do when not running with the club
- Eat! I run to eat and eat to run. ;)
- Travel. I do keep up with my running while traveling as it is a great way to explore new (and familiar) places.
- Spend time connecting with old and new friends.

What keeps you motivated?
Signing up for races and being around other like-minded people/runners/club members.   

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Set a personal goal that is achievable and be consistent in your training. If you put in the work, you will see the results. Remember to have fun and enjoy the process!

CHAU SMITH | JUNE 2019 - Member Spotlight

The San Francisco Road Runners are honored to have Chau Smith as a club member. It's been a treat for each one of us who has met and interacted with Chau. She joined the club in 2018 and has since run many marathons (often many per month). When she's not traveling for races, you'll see Chau at our Saturday club runs and dialing in her speed at Kezar track with us on Tuesdays. 

Chau also joined us for our inaugural Running Camp in May. During her introduction, Chau told us about sending her kids off to camp and later sending her grandchildren. Now, it was time for Chau to go to camp she said with big smile! During the camp's Saturday evening movies we showed this 4-minute video of her on being awarded the Lifetime Sportswoman Award for Kansas City women's sports. She had previously celebrated her 70th birthday by running a marathon on each of the seven continents in seven days!!! Thank you Chau for all you do for us and the greater running community.  


Questions we asked Chau:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I married my husband Michael, in 1983. He was a good runner then.  After we married I opened my dry cleaning and alterations business. I was working 15 to 17 hours a day. Then I sponsored my four sibling and their family from Vietnam, 25 of them. I was busy helping them find jobs, helping their children with doctor appointments and school….  My life was so stressful with lack of time and finances. Sometimes my back went completely out. I couldn’t move. The doctor wanted to operate on me, so I went for a second opinion. This doctor told me it was all about stress. He asked me to walk but since my husband was a runner I used to ride my bicycle behind him. 

Then I started to walk then run. My back problems completely disappeared, with no medicine. Running makes me happier and I feel  better. My oldest daughter has lived in San Francisco for over 20 years. She wanted us to moved out to San Francisco so she could see us during our old age. But I said I was still working so my husband moved out to San Francisco first. Then I finally joined. I still go back to Kansas City to work so I can pay for all of my running activities. The rent is so high in SF, I can’t retire completely.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
When I first went out to San Francisco the first thing I looked for was a running club. When I found SFRRC, I also found out that Lynne Killirnr, who I met in Antarctica last year, was a club member as well. This is my first year with the club.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My goals include completing my 50 states. In June she running multiple marathons: Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. On June 28th she's traveling to Missoula, Montana with Lynne, to run a marathon there. After that I will have only 8 states to complete my 50. I  try to run without injury and slow enough to finish before the cut off time.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
Making new friends. It’s always fun and time goes by fast when I run with the group.

Favorite Race: Great Wall of China Marathon
Favorite Training Runs: speed sessions on Tuesday night with SFRRC
Which pace group are you in: 11:00 pace group 
How many miles do you run per week: 25-55 
Shoes: New Balance. Trail shoes are Hoka
Food (when training for a marathon): rice, vegetables, tofu, and fish.

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I like to bike, hike, read and fish. 

What keeps you motivated?
The way I feel after I run. Being with other runners who have challenges similar to mine.   

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
It is like going to school. You have to do your homework. When the test day rolls around you will be fine.

SHAWN RAZEK | MAY 2019 - Member Spotlight

It is awesome having Shawn and his good spirit, encouragement, and SPEED that he brings to the San Francisco Road Runners. We are grateful for it! Shawn was our fastest runner at the Boston Marathon this year and his family joined us too for our post-race SFRRC team celebration. You'll see him at our Saturday club runs, and sometimes on Tuesday at track or Thursday at our Embarcadero runs. 

As Shawn shared with us, "It's been a great experience with the group thus far and I just wish I would've joined sooner."


Questions we asked Shawn:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
My older brother and sister were avid runners (well, sprinters) in high school. My sister held 3 school records and I just wanted to follow in their footsteps. I quickly realized my sprinting capabilities were poor, so I turned to distance pretty quickly.   

I've been running for over 15 years and I still do it so I can eat ice cream every day! On a more serious note, the only thing that truly gets my mind off the stress of work and life is running. I can go out for a run and just completely forget about the 1,000 things on my to-do list or all the crazy stuff going on in this world. I just started racing again last year (took a 6+ year break) and I've set some lofty goals for myself. I don't want to look back in 20-30 years and have regrets about not achieving those goals. But, really... I love ice cream and running makes me feel less guilty about it. :)

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard about SFRRC from Christine Lampe. She joined a few years back when we were running together in the local Fleet Feet group. When Fleet Feet closed (sadly), I was looking for another running group, especially one focused around the community. Christine suggested I try a couple runs with SFRRC and the rest is history.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
Pre-Boston, I was aiming for 2:49, but fell short due to some injury issues and training. I ended up running a 2:53 (still extremely happy with it). So, the short/medium term goal is 2:49 and the longer term goal is 2:39

I still split my workouts between running (3 days a week), lifting (3 days a week) and cycling (maybe once a week). I want to continue to maintain that balance, but in order to reach 2:39, I am going to have to sacrifice lifting a bit which I am willing to do. 

My key to hitting the goals is always staying positive. I believe running is 80% mental. I look around and see that other people have achieved similar goals, so why can't I? Also, I want to coach and mentor folks at some point. So, I want to reach these goals so I can provide perspective and tell stories to others to help motivate them and help achieve their goals.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
Everyone is so nice! When I first joined, so many people came and introduced themselves which gave me a sense of belonging. Though I am newer to the group, the members don't treat me any differently. Also, people are super positive which motivates me to keep going.   

I enjoy meeting new people and building relationships and SFRRC has enabled me to do that. It helps when you already have something in common, the love for running!

Favorite Race: Double Dipsea  
Favorite Training Runs: 800m repeats around ATT (Oracle Park). I love turning the corner and stepping on the gas. I enjoy tempo runs as well, especially doing them with other people. 
Which pace group are you in: 7:30 
How many miles do you run per week: ~25-30 (Not counting my 1.5 mile runs with two backpacks to the gym)
Shoes: I always race in Nikes, but I switch up my trainers. I am currently running in Nike Pegasus but spent a few cycles running in the Adidas Boston. Next cycle, I will probably go back to a lower profile shoe (I don't like foam!).
Food (when training for a marathon): Ice Cream. Other than that, I enjoy eating different variants of pasta. I also make killer salads which I typically eat more frequently.

What do you like to do when not running with the club

I try to be outside as much as possible. I enjoy traveling, spending time with my fiance, the dog, hiking and cooking. 

What keeps you motivated?
I set goals and try to achieve them for my own personal well being, but I also want to make my family and my fiance proud. Though my dad can't remember a marathon is 26.2 miles, I always think of him and my mom during workouts and it helps pull me through. My brother and sister told me that my parents would tell every person that their son was running the Boston Marathon. I remember my dad called me one day and he said 'Shawn, what was your qualifying time for Boston? I'm at Doctor X's office and I was telling him how you're running the Boston Marathon next month'. Moments like those motivate me, even more, to keep going.   

My fiance is my number one fan. I try to stay humble with my running, but she will be sure to tell all our friends, family, and new people we meet how 'fast' I am. She puts up with me waking up at 5AM every day to run or lift, she helped me through my injuries, and so much more.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Hurt now, win later. My high school friend had a brother who ran the Steeplechase in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. One day, he came to our school and did a workout with us (well, he was more or less jogging). He took the lead and just kept saying "hurt now win later" and it stuck with me. You can't cross the finish line at the time you want unless you put in the effort and experience some pain.   

When you're in the middle of a workout or a run that isn't going your way, tell yourself when you finish, will you be more proud of yourself that you pushed through the pain and achieved something, or more upset that you "took it easy"? The answer is always the former. Keep pushing, keep trying because, in the end, it will all be worth it.

ELIZABETH SEIRMARCO | APRIL 2019 - Member Spotlight

You bring so much goodness to the San Francisco Road Runners, Elizabeth! You make us smile, your optimism is infectious, and you help people with no thought beyond making an optimal positive difference in someone else's life. With our sincere gratitude.


Questions we asked Elizabeth:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I started running in college in early mornings around the Charles River listening to 80s music on a bright yellow Sony walkman sports player! I run now because I love it; running gives me great joy, helps relieve stress, plus the members of SFRRC are amazing.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I have been a proud member since May 2016 and wish that I had found SFRRC much sooner. I love this club and especially look forward to the long Saturday morning runs.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I have not yet run a full marathon! When I do in the next couple of years I’d like it to be overseas. Before then I’d like to run the Barcelona Half. My goals have been to run half marathons every few months...I can always find friends in the club who are training.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The people in SFRRC are the best -- incredibly passionate about running and fitness, kind, smart, fascinating, service oriented and they want to make the world a better place. The social opportunities are awesome. I particularly love the annual SFRRC party in November. The slideshow with music (e.g. theme to Rocky last year) featuring members of our club running gave me goosebumps.

Favorite Race: There are so many but I especially love the Santa Barbara Half Marathon - running through vineyards and along the coast. The bonus is going wine tasting afterwards.  
Favorite Training Runs: Lands End, Presidio, along the Bay and the Pacific (sometimes you can see whales and dolphins), Marina Green and up the 16th Avenue mosaic stairs where the ocean and city views are spectacular. 
Which pace group are you in: 10 minute group led by Luke Tougas (plus special shout outs to Megan Smith & Shagun Tougas who help out). 
How many miles do you run per week: Right now 18-20, increasing my distance in the spring/summer months.
Shoes: Hoka Gaviota (from A Runner’s Mind and Sports Basement - two awesome SFRRC partners).
Food (when training for a marathon): Pasta, bananas, avocados, all types of berries, dark chocolate and more pasta.

What do you like to do when not running with the club

Skiing, yoga, hiking, SoulCycle, walking around SF, traveling to Chile, watching my teen daughters play soccer and gardening.  

MATTHEW JEUNG | MARCH 2019 - Member Spotlight

Thank you Matt for pitching in so much to help the San Francisco Road Runners! We are better because of you. Last summer, Matt was our lead volunteer coordinator at the San Francisco Marathon "SFRRC water/electrolyte station" in Golden Gate Park. Thanks to Matt and team, we had ~28 volunteers and the SF Marathon gave our club $20 per volunteer.

Besides that, you'll find Matt at our Saturday club runs and track on Tuesday. He also was our captain for the Kaiser Half... putting together a gathering before the race and just making people feel at home.


Questions we asked Matt:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I started running in early 2008 at UC Davis when my friend was looking for people to do the The Big Sur Marathon with her. Her reason was for the amazing views. Eventually, a group of 8 of us signed up for the race and helped each other in training with advice, encouragement and growing excitement for the race. The race weekend in Monterey was so fun, chill, and energizing that I’ve been hooked on running since. Today, I still run to have fun and chill, meet new people through training and racing and explore new places locally and abroad. Over the past decade, I’ve also learned running makes me a better person by improving my focus and discipline, physical and mental strength and empathy toward the diverse group of runners in the world.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard about SFRRC from my high school friend (Go Lowell!), Jonathan Lui, who is one of the coaches in the club. I’ve been a member since the January 2018 kick-off run.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
In the next year or two, I hope to run a 100k or 100 mile race and improve on my PRs for the 5k, half marathon, marathon, 50k and 50 miler. “Back of my mind”/”pie in the sky” goals of mine are to qualify for Boston and possibly run a sub-3 hour marathon.

Running with good people, regular track sessions, and variety of interesting routes and workouts are the keys to my athletic progression. In 2018, joining SFRRC was crucial in my improvement. I've since had a 23 minute PR in the marathon and improved my 50 miler time by an hour and a half.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
My top 3 favorite things about SFRRC are its inclusive and welcoming nature, its diverse and wide-variety of members, and the many opportunities it provides such as meeting awesome guest speakers and ways to give back to the running community.

Favorite Race: It has to be The Big Sur Marathon for its unique race culture and community, awesome location and personal memories. This year will be my 7th time running it.  
Favorite Training Runs: My favorite SFRRC runs are the Saturday long runs and Tuesday track workouts. Both always have familiar faces to catch up with as well as new runners to meet. A favorite non-SFFRC training run I do is a loop of Mt. Davidson, up O’Shaunessy to Twin Peaks and through Mt. Sutro forest reserve. Urban trails ftw! 
Which pace group are you in: I typically run in the 8:00 pace group. However if I’m tired or running long, I’ll run with the 8:30 or 9:00 pace group. On rare occasions and to challenge myself, I’ve ran in the 7:30 pace group. 
How many miles do you run per week: In 2018, I averaged 50 miles a week with a peak week of 90. In 2019, I hope to average more with a peak week reaching 100 miles.
Shoes: For everyday running, I wear the Hoka One One Clifton 3 (with over 1600 miles on them!). For road races, I wear the Kalenji Run Cushion ($18 from Decathlon). For trail races, I wear the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3.
Food (when training for a marathon): I typically don’t eat during runs 20 miles or less. I’ve learned it trains my body to run more efficiently and reduces my chances of bonking during the race. For 18+ mile runs, I usually carry a Gu or Clif Bar just in case though and if weather is warm I’ll take a salt pill or two.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubI like to root for my bay area sports teams, camp and be in nature, volunteer, go karaoke, play music, travel and try new things. I have a lot of relatives including six uncles and four aunts and a few old friends in the bay area so when I can I love spending quality time and eating good food with them.

What keeps you motivated?
When times are good, I am motivated to hang out with my fellow runners, whether their new or old pals, explore new places and try new races and to reach my potential in running and life. When times are tough, I remind myself of the amazing feeling that I can rely on that running gives me and I know want to be a runner for the rest of my life.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
For anyone starting out running, I recommend picking a goal that would motivate you 
and make you feel awesome if accomplished. Then, I would train with people with similar goals to encourage, help and learn from each other. During training, I believe it’s key to do more easy miles at a very slow pace (2:00/mile slower than marathon pace). I know people are busy and don’t have time, but these miles will help you get stronger and prevent injury in the long haul. Plus you can really soak in your environment during these relaxed runs.

LYNNE LANGLOIS | FEBRUARY 2019 - Member Spotlight

She's one of our official Club Ambassadors, but she's also winning races and running races all over the world. And Lynne's wearing our club shirt and spreading the good news of SFRRC everywhere. Thank you Lynne!! In January, Lynne won the White Continent 50km in Antarctica. She told us she had on four layers of clothing and a hat, beanie, and balaclava mask with a wool neck gaiter, plus base layer pants, compression running pants, and a waterproof pants, sunglasses, waterproof gloves and waterproof socks called shower pass from REI and my Hoka One One shoes. She also had hand warmer heat pack to keep her hands warm.

In March she ran the Rome Marathon wearing her SFRRC shirt. Go Lynne! Thanks again for representing the San Francisco Road Runners so well.


Questions we asked Lynne:

When did you first get interested in running?
I got interested in running when I read an article about people doing triathlons. I wanted to do it, but lacked the knowledge of how to swim and bike. I learned how to swim first by blowing bubbles. Then progressed to swimming laps. I learned how to bike but was still not that confident in wearing clipless pedals. So I realized that I don't need to learn how to run.  I just need to learn how to run longer and a little faster.  So I trained to do a half marathon with a running group.   

Why do you run now?
I run because it helps me in my day-to-day life. It keeps me healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. I run to accomplish some running goals. I run because it keeps me happy, and I enjoy spending time with my friends. I run so I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.  I run to make me stronger. I run to challenge myself and be a better person.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I think I learned of it online when researching for running group in San Francisco. I've been a member since 2015.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My goal is to finish 50 states half and full. I've already finished 7 continents half marathon 2017. I finished 7 continents marathon 2018 and 7 continents 50k 2019. I've also reached Titanium level, highest level, in marathon maniacs 2017 I've reached Sun level, highest level, in half fanatics 2017.  I've reached Mt. Everest, highest level, in double agent 2017. Very few people have reached it and I'm so proud of that accomplishment.

I've also ran/finished all of the Abbott World Marathon Majors in one year: 2017 Very few people have also done it in one year, let alone the whole 6 majors. I'm working on getting my 6 star finisher the second time. I want to do 50 miler and 100 miler next year, if I get healthy enough. Also the Comrades ultramaraton 89k in South Africa.

What have been the keys to hitting your goals thus far?
I'm trying my best to stay injury free, although it's quite hard since I actually don't train for my races. I just run them for fun. I'm not worried about my time. I did 66 races last 2017. That's when my injuries started.  I'm still suffering from arthritis on both knees. That's why I'm so slow right now. It's really painful to go down the stairs or down the hill.

The other thing is, I'm just hard headed. I do my very best to accomplish my goals, even if I'm injured (not really a good thing). My friends motivate me and inspire me to do all those crazy races, like the mainly marathons where I ran 7 half and fulls in 7 days in 7 states. It was so much fun as there's no time limit. And there's also lots of food at the aid station. Running with good people in a variety of different places like trails that I won't do by myself always help me hit my goals. It keeps me stronger and excited at the same time.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
People are so fantastic, especially John. He's always happy, encouraging, and fun to be with. Members are very friendly and motivating. They are all very patient and helpful to newbies. The running camp was also excellent. Track workouts are always challenging but fun. Listening to guest speakers are always very informative and helpful.

Favorite Race: Flying pig (tough but fun) They served bacon on the course. The rock n roll series is always fun with my friends. I did 23 out of 25 races in one year. International races are always amazing. I enjoyed Borubudur Marathon in Indonesia. They have so many spectators dressed in fun outfits, dancing and singing in the course.  
Favorite Training Runs: Trail runs with Bill is always great. (tough but beautiful views) Saturday long runs are also fun. I also like Lake Merced, Golden Gate Park, Lands End.
Which pace group are you in: I'm in the slow pace group right now due to my knee injuries.  But before that, I was in the 10 per minute mile pace group.
How many miles do you run per week: I actually don't have a specific number of miles. I just go out for a run and not worry about the number of miles. But lately I've been running about 25 to 30 miles.
Shoes: I wear Hoka One One and also Altra trail shoes.
Food (when training for a marathon): I eat the standard pasta before a race. During the race, I eat protein bar, fig-bars, and my UCAN drink.

What do you like to do when not running with the club

I love going and working out at YMCA. I take HIITS class, P90X class, spin, advanced strength, advanced core, advanced pilates, TRX, masters swim. I also love to travel and seeing different places when I go for a race. I try to explore the place as much as I can, but sometimes I just fly to that particular race and the next day, fly back. This is mainly because I have to get ready for the next race, which can be in a day or two later. I also like to go shopping and love to read and listen to podcast. I also spend time with my mom. She's 92 years old. We play mahjong and eat all day.

What keeps you motivated?
My friends keep me motivated and inspired. I always see their posts on Facebook regarding their races and their medals. The challenge also keeps me motivated. I want to accomplish a lot as soon as I can because I'm not getting any younger. The bling I get from my accomplishments also play a big role in my motivation. I love looking at all my medals and I'm proud of showing it off. 

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?

Know the reason for racing. Know what's important to you. Know why you're doing that race. Get ready for it. Train hard and focus on your goals. And then just have fun.

ALAIN ALGAZI | NOVEMBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

It's a great joy for us to have Dr. Alain Algazi (crossing a finish line with his daughter) back running with us! In 2016 Alain slipped a disk in his back and was told he would likely be unable to ever run again. After surgery and 4 months in a wheelchair unable to stand, he quickly began the journey back to running. Then, just recently on November 4th was able to compete in the New York City Marathon. Welcome back, Alain! Thank you for reminding us of the possibilities that open to us when we put our minds to something and take the needed, though arduous, steps to reach our hopes and dreams. We're looking forward to seeing you again on our Saturday runs and occasionally on the trails on Sunday!


Questions we asked Alain:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
The first time that I ran consistently was when I trained for my first marathon 21 years ago. I used to bike a lot and I would just run my old bike routes. I took about 13 years off during which I want to medical school and became really sedentary and mooched lots of food in the middle of the night from nursing stations while on call. Eight years ago, I lost 40 pounds and started biking. About 5 years ago I switched to running. This sounds corny, but I think of running as simply being. I don't worry about the past or future, I just live in the moment. This is a big deal when you have lots of middle-aged responsibilities. I love running with people, but I also love running alone, especially on trails.

I ran about 14 marathons from 2013 - 2016 before I slipped a disk in my back. After 4 months in a wheelchair unable to stand, I had qualified for Boston, and with a single training (test?) run and a bit of prednisone, I managed to complete the course using the SFRRCs 8:1 run/walk break approach. My only training run was, of course, with the SFRRC. A young woman who I'd never met finished the 20 miles with me, helping me to prove to myself that I could do it. The camaraderie in the SFRRC can be amazing!

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I have been a member since 2013. I think that I probably found the club online.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I just finished the NYC marathon and I had an amazing time (not so much on the clock). I've learned to be okay with being slow. Running is worth doing at any speed, even if nobody is really impressed. My main goal is to keep going. Of course, if I could run the Western States 100 without hurting myself, I would. Similarly, getting fitter or faster would be cool.  But, if these things don't happen, I'm fine if I can just keep going. My next race is the Kaiser Half Marathon with my daughter where my goal is to finish with an empowered, happy little girl. I'm guessing we're looking at 2:30, but it doesn't really matter. The key to hitting my goals thus far has been stubbornness and consistency. Some parts have been easy. I really like long runs and I don't feel quite right if I can't run a 12 to 20 mile long run at least once per week.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The club has been an amazing resource for the past 6 years. There's always a friendly, encouraging group of people there every time. I can show up after months off and the group will always be there. Similarly, the ability to change between pace groups has been a major plus. I have run with every group between 10 min and 7:30 at least once on long runs and I have felt welcome every time even when I don't know anybody in the group yet.

Favorite Training Runs: Recently, Solo: SF to Tennessee Vally. With the club: anything including Land's End and trail runs 
Which pace group are you in: 9 min, 9:30 and 10 recently. Depends on who I see and how I'm feeling.
How many miles do you run per week: Since NYC Marathon 20. Peaked at 40. Previously up to 70.
Shoes: New Balance Fresh 1080s, 9 4E -- also good for water skiing :)
Food (when training for a marathon): Toast. Lot's of toast.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubCure cancer, spend time with family.

What keeps you motivated?
I just love being out and running. Being able to move is a blessing and I never want to take it for granted again.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Enjoy it. Celebrate being there.  

KAREN MCSORLEY  | OCTOBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

As Karen tells us, "Truth is I just love SFRRC - what a joy it is to wake up early Saturday mornings (go figure!)." And we love Karen!! Thank you for the joy and smiles you bring to each one of us at our Saturday club runs. Karen is our 10:30min/mile pace group leader. It's not just on club run days when Karen makes our member's lives better... Her pace group emails bring the info (run meeting spot details, course, etc.) and they also bring running tips, inspiration, and fun! High five coming your way from the Goldies and all of the San Francisco Road Runners, Karen. Thank you.


Questions we asked Karen:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I registered for my first marathon on October 9, 2004 as a bucket list item. I had not yet even taken my first running stride. Yikes! Precisely 365 days later, I completed the Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2005. As I crossed the finish line, I did not smile and I did not cry. I simply whispered to myself, "I'm home." And that it what it feels like every time I step outside my front door wearing a pair of running kicks. When I run, I am home. 

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard great things about SFRRC & wanted to make sure I could keep up with the "pros." So I waited until I had completed 3 full marathons before joining in 2007. How silly I was! SFRRC is the perfect place for all levels of athletic experience and all bold & bodacious dreams.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
Jokingly, I always tell club members that a good finish line photo is the best goal. But truthfully, I believe it because a giant smile at the finish is a good sign you are successfully rocking your own world.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The people, the people, the people..THE BEST PEOPLE!

Favorite Race: With 30 full marathons & 150+ half marathons under my feet, I just couldn't ever choose a favorite. Too many loves.  
Favorite Training Runs: Angel Island 15 miles (two loops from the ferry) for training on trails. Best views of San Francisco + Sam's for lunch afterwards. 
Which pace group are you in: I'm typically a 9:30 runner, but I've run with many of the SFRRC pace groups from 8:00s to 11:00s. This year, I'm hanging with the hilariously awesome Goldies (10:30). Never in my life have I laughed so much! 
How many miles do you run per week:When everything (personally, professionally, and physically) is rocking, I usually put in 35-45 miles per week.
Shoes: I am loyal to ASICS.
Food (when training for a marathon):As a vegetarian, food is sometimes a complicated issue. Pasta & veggies are my go-to before long runs. Peanut butter on a bagel alongside chocolate milk is my finish-line treat.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the club:I'm an art historian by profession, a musician by training, and a baker of the world's best chocolate chip cookies by popular demand.

What keeps you motivated?
Running is the most human activity on my schedule. It keeps me grounded, humbled, and peaceful. Better than therapy.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Dare to be awesome!

ZANETA CHA  | SEPTEMBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

Zaneta joined the San Francisco Road Runners early this year to help her on her quest to the Spartan World Championships. In the process Zaneta has brought so much joy and good will to the club with her participation - not only in training (long runs, speed work, etc.), but also in volunteering/service with the club. Along with Matthew, Zaneta spearheaded/led our entire SFRRC Aid Station on Mile 18 of the 2018 San Francisco Marathon (27 of our club members volunteered). With gratitude and smiles we won't mention how early she arrived to set that marathon fuel station up. ;)

Zaneta qualified for the 2018 Spartan World Championships at the end of August at the Regional Championships in West Virginia. Go Zaneta!  

Questions we asked Zaneta:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I started to entertain the idea of running two years ago, because a lot of my friends were inviting me to join local 5k “fun” runs. Personally, I always associated running as a punishment for sports and I was amazed that so many people actually paid money to do something that could be done for free. However, when I was introduced to the world of obstacle course racing, I realized that I needed to be a faster, more efficient runner. I joined SFRRC with the intent that running would be supplemental training that I needed to do to become better.

Why do you still run?
Little did I know that after joining the club, I would meet so many amazing members, discover so many different areas of the SF, and even enjoy running (sometimes). Even though the OCR season is coming to an end, I plan to continue to run because after watching the Boston Marathon documentary, I ended up signing up for my first marathon in December!   

How did you hear about SFRRC?
I first heard about SFRRC through a friend from my church, who said it was the friendliest run club in SF! I joined the club January 2018 during the Sports Basement kick-off run. Any run club that serves a bacon and egg breakfast afterwards will win me over! 

What does the San Francisco Road Runners Club do for you?
It affords me the opportunity to meet wonderful people who truly enrich my life while running.

What are your running/athletic goals - any races included?
My dream goal would be to be on the Spartan race podium. SFRRC has been vital to my success in helping me achieve my goal this year of making it to Worlds. Another athletic goal that I have is getting a personal training certification so that I can help other individuals meet their own athletic goals.

What are a few of your favorite thing about the club?
SFRRC is truly the friendliest run club in SF! I have met so many inspirational friends and runners, who continue to not only support me, but also challenge me to become better. I love having a group of people who continue to keep me accountable, just by being present at all the runs. I also really enjoy all the events that we have such as movie nights, book signings, and bowling nights, especially since they all are accompanied by free food!

Favorite Race: Spartan LA Dodger Stadium race! For anyone who is interested in trying out OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) for the first time, stadium races are great! This was my most memorable race because my friends and I did a 24 hour trip down to LA for the race. We drove down at 4 am, ran the race in the afternoon, went for Korean BBQ for dinner and explored City Walk, and then made it back to the city at 4 am the next day.  
Favorite Training Runs: I really enjoy track! It is a smaller group, and although the workouts can be challenging, they are usually over pretty quickly. Plus, sometimes we get pizza or ice cream afterwards! 
Which pace group are you in: I rotate between 9:30min/mile and 9:00min/mile depending on my race schedule. Wing and Laura are AWESOME!  
How many miles do you run per week: 35mi-40mi. I also lift weights 3-4 times a week
Shoes: Asics Kayano for long runs; Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 for OCR
Food (when training for a marathon): Two weeks before a race, I cut out dairy, gluten and anything with added sugar. Then a week before the race, I try to incorporate slightly more carbs such as baked sweet potatoes and quinoa.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubI LOVE to eat (can you tell?) so I am always excited to try new restaurants and always open to sharing a meal with others! Hit me up! I also really enjoy playing board games, scrapbooking, and reading.

What keeps you motivated?
I love pushing myself and discovering new limits. Watching my overall pace decrease and placing higher in races is a huge motivator for me. I also really appreciate all my fellow runners that show up to track and long runs every week. On the days that I do not always want to get out and run, I remember how much fun I have with everyone and how there is always someone that will show up no matter what the condition #fomo.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Consistency and Variety is KEY! I believe that every run or workout that you do is one step closer to being successful in a race. If you stick to your plan, the results should hopefully follow. I am also a big advocate of weight-training and exercises that promote multi-directional movements. I try to include a lot of compound lifts, which help support my muscles when I run, as well as make sure that I am training other angles of my body so that I prevent imbalances from doing repetitive movements.

SHAGUN TOUGAS | AUGUST 2018 - Member Spotlight

Shagun is one of THE most helpful and hardest working members of our club! And we're so grateful for her. Here with her husband, Luke, as they were volunteering at the SFRRC Aid Station on Mile 18 of the 2018 San Francisco Marathon. Shagun is also one of our Club Ambassadors and the one who leads our partnership with Sports Basement as we lead their 6:30pm Wednesday evening Fun Runs from their Presidio Store. If you're looking for an easy run (often on the soft trails of the Presidio) on Wednesdays head over to Sports Basement. It's quite fun and they always have food and drink (often with hops to replenish the carbs) after. Thank you Shagun!

Questions we asked Shagun:

When did you first get interested in running? 
I played team sports while in school (don't ask how long ago that was), so running was always part of my life. But I really got interested in running long distance in 2012 with the aim to run my first marathon.

Why do you still run?
It truly makes me happy.  

How did you hear about SFRRC?
From my neighbor, club member, and dear friend - Karla Scott (I aspire to be super fast like her :)

What does the San Francisco Road Runners Club do for you?
It affords me the opportunity to meet wonderful people who truly enrich my life while running.

What are your running goals - any races included?
Long term - to stay healthy and stay running as long as I can.  Short term - I am currently training for the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota in October.

What's your favorite thing about the club?
The camaraderie of its members.  

Favorite Race: I haven’t run too many marathons, so I am still in search of my favorite.
Favorite Training Runs: Runs in the Golden Gate Park and Presidio. I just love the trails there.
Which pace group are you in: 10 minutes with the most handsome Pace Group Leader, Luke (I am biased, he is my husband).  
How many miles do you run per week: 35-40 on a good week
Shoes: Minimalist shoes by New Balance
Food (when training for a marathon): Gnocchi, pasta, and beer (I hear carb loading is good)
Favorite activity when you're not running with the club: Running while traveling or traveling while running

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for their first marathon or half-marathon?
Don’t go out too fast and I would share a quote from Art E. Berg “While the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.”

NIMESH RANJAN | JULY 2018 - Member Spotlight

Nimesh was chosen at the most simple level for his infectious positive spirit! But, even more pertinent at the moment is that Nimesh has risen again after very difficult injury sidelined him (what he thought might be indefinitely)... last July 4th. Thanks to a great doctor, successful surgery, and terrific physical therapists... he's back running with us again. And we're so happy. Welcome back Nimesh! Cheers to you and lots of good running ahead!

Questions we asked Nimesh:

When did you first get interested in running? 
Oh.. I started running little by little back in 2003 when I was living in Bangalore. I had a neighbor who had run the Big Sur Marathon and I started running with him. However it was not until 2009 when I ran my first marathon (Chicago) that I was truly addicted.

Why do you still run?
I am hooked! I really enjoy it and it keeps me wanting to do more. 

How many years have you been with SFRRC?
I joined in 2014 after I moved to SF... and have not looked back! 

Which pace group are you in?
I am coming back from a bad ankle fracture so I am still trying to figure out what will work for me. You will usually see me doing my own thing between the pace groups 9 - 10:30 /mile. I used to run with the 8:30 (Go Robert!).. and hope to inch back there soon :)

What's your favorite thing about the club?
The people! When I broke my ankle, I didn't realize how much love and support I got from my close running buddies - Rachel, Tommy, Sabrina, Vince, Wayne, Kate, Jon Liu, John, Lisa, and many many more! Thank you for rooting for me.. it feels great to have such awesome friends and community :-)

Favorite Race: Chicago - It's something about the energy (and it helps that it is all flat)!
Favorite Training Runs: Saturday Club Runs with breakfast after :) 
Food (when training for a marathon): A lot! My tip: I go gluten free a few weeks before the race.
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Runners

What keeps you motivated/goals?
Peer pressure. Its great to see club members show up. Helps me to be there.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for their first marathon or half-marathon?
Track and Tempo were really helpful to me. Also.. Long runs - run sloooow... above all hope you enjoy the journey! 

Please contact us with suggestions of club members who've brought joy or inspiration to you and our club. Or someone who's accomplishing tremendous feats! Email: We'll put this request in our emails too. Thank you!

Thanks to the generosity of Sports Basement, our Member of the Month recipients receive a $50 Gift Certificate to the store.

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